Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Long Distance Drunks: A Tribute to Charles Bukowski, edited by Max Booth III
(pb; 2014: story and poetry anthology)
Long Distance Drunks is an excellent, appropriately toned and executed collection that pays homage to its titular inspiration. Every story and poem in this twenty-two piece anthology has something to recommend it. This book is worth owning, especially if you're a fan of Bukowski's work and legacy.
1.) "The Killers" - Eli Wilde: Two lovers - a mechanic and his boss's daughter - break out of their horrible and monotonous wasteland existences. Bleak, compelling.
2.) "Heavenly Cure For a Dripping C*ck" - T. Fox Dunham: Bodily fluids, raw emotions and explicit sex highlight this tale about a "cursed" bum seeking physical healing. Especially good read.
3.) "A Scarecrow Unlabeled" - William Barker: Vivid poem about Bukowski's writing - and a small part of his legacy.
4.) "Shackjob" - Brett Williams: A drunk-bum writer (Chuck Becker) rambles between bars, women and crash pads. This work has a charming, effectively vagrant feel to it. One of my favorite pieces in this collection.
5.) "Drowning Butterfly" - Gabino Inglesias: Effectively-Bukowski-esque piece about a struggling wandering author whose encounter with an eerie beach woman proves to be tender, dark and beautiful. One of my favorite pieces in this collection.
6.) "Zero" - S. MacLeod: An ex-junkie hooker comes up with a flawed pan to improve her circumstances. Memorable finish to this one.
7.) "Without Face" - Michael Bailey: Time-fractured, hallucinatory tale about a man (Saul Pravat) dealing with the bloody fallout of indulging in a mystery drug. Interesting work.
8.) "Behind the Bar" - Will Viharo: Raunchy, sometimes poetic and often hilarious dialogue highlights this story about a movie star (Mick - as in Mickey Rourke) and a famous author (Chuck - as in Charles Bukowski, whom Mick played in the 1987 film Barfly). These two characters drink, fight and philosophize a bit. One of my favorite pieces in this anthology.
9.) "The Other Kind of Workshop" - Jacob Haddon: This poem colorfully - in Bukowski-esque style - describes writers' realities. Good poem, no wasted words in it and it flows well.
10.) "Turk and Taylor" - Tom Pitts: Excellent and sometimes creepy piece about a junkie trying to find the best place to fix. Memorable work.
11.) "Herniated Roots" - Richard Thomas: An affair takes on dark, mysterious and perversely life-affirming aspects.
12.) "Bukowski" - Justin Hyde: Especially good, word-spare versework about its titular character.